20th Century, Boys, Girls, History, Immigration, Intercession, Israel, Jews, Minnesota

Neighborhood House: Camp for Immigrant Children

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1919
Neighborhood House on St. Paul’s West Side expands its sports and recreation program. Camp Owendingo on Carver Lake in Woodbury provides wholesome outdoor activities for the children of recent immigrants.*

“Led by Sophie Wirth, the classes grew into an industrial school. Girls and boys learned home and industrial arts. They took English language and American citizenship classes. In 1897 the industrial school grew into Neighborhood House, a full-service settlement house located at 153 Robertson Street. Still led by Wirth, and supervised by Mount Zion’s rabbis, Neighborhood House added recreational activities, dental and baby clinics, and programs for adults.

People of all religions and ethnic groups flocked to Neighborhood House. In 1903 it reorganized, evolving from a purely Jewish social effort into a non-sectarian one. In 1921 the population of the Flats was two and a half times greater than it had been in 1915. This led to crowding and housing shortages.

Under Constance Currie, who became head resident in 1918, Neighborhood House added playgrounds and camping activities. Most notable was the Sophie Wirth Day Camp in White Bear Lake. The Northern Pacific Railway provided free transportation to the camp for five years after its founding in 1919. The service gave hundreds of mothers and children a rare day of leisure.”**

“We praise Thee, O G-d, and thank Thee for all the blessings of the week that is gone; for life, health, and strength; for home love and friendship; for the disciplines of our trials and temptations; for the happiness of our success and prosperity. Thou hast commanded us: Six days shalt thou labor and do all thy work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath unto the Lord thy G-d. Thou hast ennobled us, O G-d, by the blessings of work, and in love and grace sanctified us by the blessings of rest.” Union Prayer Book II, (New York, NY: Central Conference of American Rabbis, 1973) p.36

Jesus, I praise You for the work of Sophie Wirth, and all who contributed to the Neighborhood House! Thank You for the inspiration and practical training this community center provided to West Saint Paul. Thank You for making a place for Russian Jewry, and that their place of Shabbat spilled over so much and blessed their neighbors!

How good and pleasant it is when brothers, and sisters, live together in unity. Thank you for the Sabbath of this day camp! Thank You that charity begets charity, and that the Northern Pacific Railway joined in to provide free rides.

I can’t imagine the reasons of judgments of Russian Jews, but by faith I acknowledge to You that we as human often fail each other in this way. Will You forgive any transference and judgments from Minnesotans’ towards this group of immigrants? Will You take any bitterness up, out, and onto the Cross?

Conversely, will You forgive the judgments that the Neighborhood House may have held towards its neighbors? Will You forgive any judgments towards Saint Paul, and the state of Minnesota? Will You forgive any bitter roots against the predominant Catholic faith?

We ask that You bless the heritage of Sophie Wirth in the community, her family, and her spiritual ancestry. May You continue to provide our State with those who have a heart for others! May You forever bless Minnesota through Your people Israel, specifically all Jews from Russia, and may they forever be welcomed here and endowed with Your Divine favor and protection. Amen!

 

* P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!
**http://www.mnopedia.org/group/jewish-roots-neighborhood-house-st-paul

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19th Century, education, government, History, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota, State Government

School Required

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1885
The state legislature passes a mandatory school-attendance law, requiring all children between the ages of 8 and 16 to attend 12 weeks of school a year.*

Jesus, will You observe this law with me? What is on Your mind when looking at the idea of mandatory school attendance? You don’t use the law forcibly in the New Testament, but did require certain obedience in the Old Testament. You instructed parents to teach, but also said, ‘Let the children come to me” when restrained by the disciples. You demand all from us, but want obedience from the place of lovingkindness rather than empty religious duty.
In any case, I thank You that Minnesotans’ have valued education. I thank You for the heart behind this law that children should be allowed a time and place solely for learning. I thank you that these 12 weeks were set aside to enhance the exposure of young minds’ to the enjoyable discipline of education.
As is the case whenever new laws spring up, I’m sure there was an element in the state that was resistant to comply for varying reasons. “What if my child becomes smarter than me? What if the school teaches something that I do not agree with? What is wrong with the way I am raising my child currently? Does the government of Minnesota know better than me? I need my son or daughter at home because they are essential workers on the farm!”
Lord, for these attitudes of distrust from the people to the state, have mercy on our judgements! Lord, for the attitudes of the state to the people, have mercy on our judgements! We are all people capable of misusing our authority. We are all people who capable of using some element of force when we do not get our way. We are not benevolent like You; we often do good things from impure motives.
Christ, will You have mercy on our motive conflicts? Will You give the correct balance in this contested area of education in the life of our state? Will you give us the grace for our neighbor that is inherent in Your law, and in the laws of Minnesota? How can we expect our freedom of choice to be respected, when we will not even acknowledge our neighbor’s vantage point as one worthy of consideration?

*P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org , is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!

**Peruse the details of this law? https://www.revisor.mn.gov/laws/?view=session&year=1885&type=0

 

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17th Century, Catholic, Culture, Exploration, History, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota, Native Americans

Hennepin at Falls of St. Anthony 1680  

Source:Google ImagesLouis Hennepin, a missionary with the La Salle expedition in Illinois, is sent up the Mississippi to explore the country. The Dakota stop him and his two companions and take them to a village near Lake Mille Lacs. While Hennepin is with the Dakota, he sees a great waterfall on the Mississippi and names it after his favorite saint–Saint Anthony.*

Lord, thanks that You position us to encounter Your mystery! I don’t know if Hennepin was stopped by force or friendliness, but thank you that You moved him to see the Falls, and the Dakotas to lead him! What a gift these Dakotas’ shared with a total stranger?! What a generosity of spirit! Will You remember their willingness to share the findings of their exploration? Release us from any false judgments or assumptions, Hennepin to Dakota, or vice versa, that stem from this event. Release Your blessings on both groups; the explorers and first residents of Minneapolis, Minnesota. Amen.

*Note – PrayThroughHistory uses the timeline located for several years at the Minnesota Historical Society Web site, at this URL:mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm .  Currently the timeline seems to be unavailable. I am hopeful that it will be back up in the future, as it was a valuable, user-friendly tool for anyone wishing to explore Minnesota history.

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